Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday in Virginia

Holiday in Virginia
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
Catching up.

A lot has happened since my last post. The Mister and I flew out to Virginia to visit my family out there over Christmas. We had a lovely time, and among others we got to visit with Niece C, Nephew P and my 90 year old grandmother.

Grandma is amazing. She may be more frail, and move more slowly than she did years ago, but she's still sharp and beautiful, and still has her sense of humor.

The fingerless gloves I knitted for her fit, wonder of wonders. My hands are so very much bigger than hers, and I didn't have anyone around who wears her size to try them on. They are wool, cashmere and silk, so they should breathe well and be warm and comfy against her skin. If I could wear wool I'd make myself a pair of them from the same yarn in a heartbeat. I'm just glad I can knit with it, even if I can't wear it.

My step-brother-in-law is Italian, and his family joined us for a sumptuous multi-course Christmas dinner, complete with a cheese plate, oysters Rockefeller casserole (which I forgot to take photos of... Doh!), ham, home fried potatoes, lasagna, and almost too many kinds of desserts to count. My step-sister made an amazing orange and cranberry sauce to go with the ham. I think I ate more of the cranberry sauce than the ham.

My step-brother was there for the weekend, too. I haven't seen him in ages. We've never been close, but it was good to see him, and he seemed to be doing well.

My Honey and I bought each other new Crocs. The kind with the fuzzy lining in them. That came in immensely helpful, because my foot started to swell up the day we were to fly out. It had been doing a little swelling for maybe two months before, but not like this. My foot was swelling too much to wear regular shoes, but Crocs are so loose and comfy I could still wear them even with warm, thick socks. So we opened the crocs as soon as we arrived so we could enjoy our comfy feet during the visit.

We flew out just in time, I'm told, because there were white out conditions the following day that would have made flying out much more difficult. They had chilly days at home, and snow, while we enjoyed temperatures as high as the 50's and 60's F, and a little rain. The locals in Virginia were quick to mention that it was getting cold at night (down in the 20's to 30's F) but it was still warmer than what we've been seeing the last few weeks in Minnesota.

While we were visiting we discovered a lovely local pear port, made by the Horton winery. It was tasty enough to buy some to bring home, which now-a-days means finding a way to keep it from being smashed in your checked-through luggage. Wasn't such a big deal back when you could still carry a bottle of wine in your carry-on luggage. But it made it home without incident.

My Mister and I don't celebrate Christmas left to our own devices (though we do observe the winter solstice and Pastafarian season of Holiday). But Christmas is a very big deal for the rest of the family, and we enjoy being able to share it with them. Our extended family is so spread out that we don't get to see more than a few of them at a time each year. But we try to at least make sure we call on the phone to touch bases. And this year a number of my family members have added Pastafarian Holiday to their winter celebrations, so there was an added level of cheer all around.

Ack, which reminds me that I still haven't mailed out my holiday cards. Good thing they are "season's greetings" cards (to cover the variety of holidays celebrated by my friends this time of year). Note to self: get that taken care of this weekend.

Any way, be brought games for all the adults in the house. We played several games of Settlers of Catan, and a card game called Fluxx. Dad hooked the laptop up to his TV and I showed the kids what the winter holiday in Azeroth (World of Warcraft) looks like. Niece C especially liked watching that, and perched next to me as I made the run through some of the seasonal quests. My Honey also demonstrated the PC game Portal for me and Dad. I couldn't enjoy trying to play a game with so many mind bending changes of perspective, but watching the Mister play it was a whole lot of fun.

Dad and Grandma took me to a wonderful little yarn store near (in?) Middleburg, VA, and let me pick out some yummy yarns. I picked all things I can actually wear. Recycled sari silk, bamboo, and soy silk. Grandma really liked a Möbius cowl that was on display, knitted of very fine mohair and sprinkled with delicate beads. After looking it over for a bit I offered to make one for her, so I got the yarn for that as well. I've never knitted with anything so delicate before, but I am really looking forward to this project. Just need to go out and get some beads and a beading needle to get started.

It was a plush toy Christmas for me. I fell in love with a stuffed toy manatee (I named him Hugh) while shopping for the niece and neffling, and my Honey bought it for me. And I was also given a plush turkey vulture, along with other lovely presents. Niece C and Nephew P drew us some very detailed pictures, too, which was delightful.

Most of the adults went out after Christmas dinner to see the Tim Burton movie Sweeny Todd (based on the Stephen Sondheim stage musical). Not a jolly, happy holiday film, but then we're not a "normal" family. I'd watch a recital of the phone directory if it was directed by Tim Burton. And I particularly enjoy Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman and my Mister especially likes nearly anything with Helena Bonham Carter in it. So we were all for my step-sister's plan to make that our post-dinner outing. The film was dark and disturbing, funny and touching, and the sets, costumes and visual effects were lavishly macabre. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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